Delone Catholic head coach Dusty Lehr, The Evening Sun Girls' Track Coach of the Year, is putting together what some would call a dynasty, as the Squirette girls' track team claimed its sixth Division C title in the last seven years by completing an undefeated season for the second year in a row.
"We had some kids returning," Lehr said. "I knew that in the throws I would have Allie Mondorff, and in the jumps I would have Isabella (Ugarte), Cambria (Wierman) and Grace (Reidel). I knew I was strong in the field, but the track was where we had a nice surprise."
Part of that surprise came from freshman Kate Mowery, who ran the 800, 1600, and 3200 for Delone. The Squires also relied heavily on Wierman, Ugarte, and Hannah Lawrence in the sprints and hurdles.
Winning six of seven division titles is impressive in its own right, but considering the Squirette circumstances, it becomes even more impressive.
Delone does not have a track at their school which means that all of the Squirette meets are away and more importantly it also means that they do not have a track to practice on daily.
Fortunately for Lehr, he has formed strong relationships with coaches at Littlestown, New Oxford and South Western who he said, were gracious enough to allow his team to use the track on nights when it is open.
It typically meant that the Squirettes had one practice a week on a track. Lehr said the way his team has been able to overcome the adversity of not having a track was that he has incredibly committed athletes.
"We are fortunate in the fact that 80 percent of the girls that do sports in the fall and winter do track in the spring," Lehr said. "I get a lot of athletic girls out for the team, but they have not don't track before their freshman year."
Lehr simply tells the girls that they will get out of the season what they put in and the girls take care of the rest.
"It is a lot of evenings and weekends," he said. "If they want to learn the sport, they will have to do it during off-time ours. Our girls are willing though, regardless if it was Saturday at 4:30 p.m. or Thursday night. I rarely have to ask where anybody is. I would say around 90 percent come to all of our practices. It just speaks to their dedication of doing whatever it takes."
A typical week during the season would include a meet on Tuesday, a workout on Wednesday, and then they would try to find a track on Thursday or Friday. During the week, the distance team would go to Codorus, and sprinters would do a lot of conditioning on the grass.
Despite the circumstances, Lehr's teams have gone 46-2 in his seven seasons at Delone. He went undefeated through his first four seasons and then, in the lone year the Squires did not win the division (2011), they went 6-2, and have gone undefeated ever since.
Heading into the season, Lehr and his team knew they had three real competitive meets that they needed to be ready for, Bermudian, Biglerville and Hanover. Knowing what his team was bringing to the table, he knew they would be good, but he did not know how good.
"I knew after we had a real good meet against Biglerville, which was like our fourth out of seventh meet," Lehr said. "I came home and looked at the numbers and thought that we were really further ahead than I thought we would be at that point."
As if a script written for Hollywood, the Squirettes entered the final meet of the regular season tied for first and could clinch it with a win. The opponent was cross-town rival Hanover.
"Oh that was really nice," Lehr said. "Hanover had a really nice senior class. We knew that would be a big meet all year. With only having six teams in the league, you never want to share a championship. We knew that if we lost, it would be us, Bermudian and Hanover sharing the championship."
The Squirettes won, 89-61
Lehr knows that the Squirettes would not have experienced the level of success that they did without the help of two key veterans, Ugarte and Mondorff.
"We will have a very difficult time replacing those two," Lehr said. "Allie, was a district medalist in the discus and javelin and she also threw the shot for us. It will be difficult for us to replace her."
"Izzy did everything. She competed in six for seven events for us and scored everywhere and was the best overall athlete we had. If we can replace those two we will have a decent team next year, but those two definitely stood out as big supporters for our team."